When the AAR met in Montreal in 2009, we not only had our first session on idolatry/materiality from a Pagan perspective, but also the Magical Mercantile Tour of Pagan and occult-related shops and meeting places.
This year’s tour revisited the concept under a slightly different name, a tribute to our second stop, the Lucky Mojo Curio Co. in Forestville, Calif. (The first stop was Isis Oasis.) The tour was made possible by Julie Epona and Morning Glory Zell of the Church of All Worlds.
Lucky Mojo employs a small staff in mail-order product sales, hoodoo lessons, and counseling. The first thing you see when walking up to the shop is a shed painted with a version of the “See Rock City” advertisement painted on barns throughout the Southeast and Lower Midwest.
The Rock City ad not only sets you up for what has been described as Lucky Mojo’s “1930s Memphis” aesthetic, but since founder Catherine Yronwode has a background in graphic-novel and comics publishing, I suspect that it might also be a reference to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
That is Lucky Mojo: ironic, postmodern, humorous—but still serious.
My other souvenir is a classic wooden-handled cardboard fan, of the type handed out by funeral parlors in the pre-air-conditioning era. One side shows a soppy portrait of Jesus as The Good Shepherd, while the other advertises the ambiguously named Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, located adjacent to the shop and office.
It has just a small table and two chairs for card readings, etc., plus altars for placing help requests according to their elemental correspondences.
In the spirit of Hoodoo and rootwork, the “smallest church” is cheerfully casual about theological categories. As Tayannah Lee McQuillar writes in Rootwork, “[Rootwork] has no pantheon or priesthood. It refers only to a set of healing and spell practices, and the practitioner can be whatever religion they wish.”